June marks LGBT+ Pride, celebrated in acknowledgement of the historic Stonewall Riots of June 1969. Pride is a month that both celebrates achievements in gay rights and highlights continuing injustice and discrimination against LGBT+ people across the world. The celebration can be seen in cities across the world in Pride marches; continuing injustice is often invisible.
Pride has a wider significance in the values it reflects, like community, solidarity and allyship. As Pride events have grown and are more visible, they have become embedded in cultural and civic life. Pride is an acknowledgement of diversity and of changing ideas about sexuality and gender, all grounded on calls for equality and justice. The diversity of identities and orientations is most visible in the proliferation of pride flags. The original rainbow flag has been developed to incorporate colours that signify racial justice, while other communities have created their own flags that are seen at Pride events. This diversity is important. We can all benefit from the acknowledgement that there is always something to learn about being human from the experiences of minorities and excluded groups, with their lives sustained by care, mutuality and resilience.
Aside from celebration, Pride offers a platform for the continuing struggle for justice and dignity for LGBT+ communities across the world. In some places this is a matter of life and death. Here in the UK, there have been huge steps in LGBT+ rights since 1969, but vigilance about those rights remains important. Pride Month shows most clearly that we are celebrating the value of tolerance, compassion and care – these are essential for everyone. Everyone can learn and benefit from LGBT+ Pride.
Multi-Faith Chaplaincy is here for anyone who needs a listening ear or any support. Support is also available through the Student Wellbeing Centre.